How the hell did feminism become a dirty word? Keira Knightley doesn't know or care, really — she's just glad that people are starting to wise up and stop slinging the word "feminist" around like it's some sort of insult and not just a thing that a reasonable human being would call herself or (gasp!) himself.
In an upcoming interview with Harper's Bazaar UK, Knightley offered some thoughts on how much harder women in show business have it than their male counterparts and the gross mistreatment the concept of feminism has received in popular discourse over the last several years. For starters, she never quite understood why people started using "feminist" as an insult because the English languish, in all its absurd vulgarity, has a bajillion actual insults that are really satisfying to deploy. Like "rapscallion" or "numpty," which I just looked up on an extremely slapdash dictionary of Scottish insults and am hoping isn't wildly offensive.
Said a perplexed Knightley:
I think it's great that the discussions are finally being allowed to be had [about feminism], as opposed to anybody mentioning feminism and everybody going, 'Oh, fucking shut up.' Somehow, it [feminism] became a dirty word. I thought it was really weird for a long time, and I think it's great that we're coming out of that.
As for being a busy actress in Hollywood, Knightley said she realized her male counterparts were relying on their spouses to take care of all their personal shit, which seems pretty unfair:
I go to work at 5.30 in the morning; I wouldn't get back probably until nine o'clock at night. Most of the guys that I talk to – and I've spoken to a lot of guys about it – they say [whispers], 'My wife does everything.' You think, 'Why wasn't I thinking about this five years ago?' Hollywood has a really long way to go. I don't think that anybody can deny that, really, and I think as much as you are getting more women playing lead roles…they're still pretty few and far between.
To be absolutely fair, though, some would-be leading ladies were pushed out of the industry solely on merit: